I’m a father; I’m a husband; I’m a leader. All three of those statements are true and they don’t take away from my wife’s ability to be a mother, a wife, and a leader too. But in order to be the best husband and father that I can be, I have to be a great leader. The success of my family depends on my ability to confidently lead, to communicate, and to work well with my wife (we’re a team.)
I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a leader.
And as a parent, what’s the one thing that I DON’T want my child to be? The answer is a follower. Followers can fall victim to people that don’t mean well for them and that are looking to manipulate them along the way.
On the other hand, I want all of our children to become leaders. I want them to blaze their own path of success that doesn’t bend to peer pressure or bad choices just because that’s what the crowd is doing.
Check out this PSA from the 4-H ORGANIZATION that perfectly shows the importance of growing true leadership skills within your children.
But the question is, how do I, as a father, develop leadership in my young children?
I’ve pulled together four easy ways fathers can begin building the leader that lives inside their children, starting this weekend. Keep reading to see the full list:
1) Let Them Lead at Home
This weekend, let your child plan dinner. You can assist with the heavy lifting, but let them choose what to eat. They can participate in gathering ingredients, prepping food and even cooking depending on how old they are. This will allow them to get used to making decisions and then acting on those decisions. Our kids are known to prepare anything from tacos, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, to oven-baked cakes and cookies. They prepare everything and we cook on the stove and put things in the oven for the younger kids. Allowing your kids to lead tasks at home helps to build their confidence, which is a true mark of a good leader.
2) Let Them Join a Team or Activity
This weekend, let your child find, pick and join a team, activity or camp for this summer. As a parent of four, I know that it’s easier at times to just quickly do it yourself. But , allowing them to be a part of the process develops their natural leadership skills. Then, encourage them not to just be “there” but to also be active when they join. Being able to work well in teams is definitely a sign of a great leader.
And as a side note: I personally participated in 4-H PROGRAMS as a young boy and I can attest to the fact that they truly do develop leadership skills (and plus they were just so much fun.) Some of my fondest childhood memories were from my 4-H camps near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
3) Let Them Speak to Adults
This weekend, let your kids speak to adults. If you plan on eating out, allow your kids to order their own meals and communicate this to the waiter on their own. If you go into the store, allow them to pay for their own products with the cashier. They need to begin taking a front seat approach to their own lives. And they need to be able to speak up when you are not around. Great leaders definitely have good communication skills.
4) Let Them Set Goals
This weekend, sit down and set goals with your children. What do they want to achieve in the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 5 years? Once they jot down ideas, then help them work backwards to breakdown what’s required to reach each goal. Leaders have to know where they are going and what’s required to get there. As they work towards their goals they’ll also be faced with adversity and challenges. Life is full of problems and when your children face them this give you a teachable moment about not quitting or giving up. Commitment – is a true characteristic of a great leader. Your kids need to know how to lead by example and show that they are committed to their goals as well.
Leadership is inside of your child you just need to help it find its way out.
Bonus: Let Them See You Lead
This is something that should happen every day and you don’t have to wait for this weekend to start. As a father, you should be leading by example. Your children are watching you. They will see if you are truly committed to your family, they will see if you are confident in your decisions. And they will see how well you are working with others, in particularly their mother. So the best way to teach your kids leadership is to be a great example.
So there you have it… here are four quick ways you can begin implementing leadership in your children…starting this weekend. But don’t stop there. While it’s easy to acknowledge when they are being followers, we also need to acknowledge when they are showing signs of leadership. Affirm the power within your kids and reinforce it with love. Leadership is inside of your child you just need to help it find it’s way out.
And thank you to 4-H for their Grow True Leaders campaign. They launched it this April with the purpose of addressing America’s need for well-equipped youth that are prepared to step into leadership roles. 4-H believes that every child has the potential to be a true leader, but need to be taught the life skills and given opportunities to be such. 4-H programs give young people the experiences they need to develop these skills. As part of this campaign, 4-H is recruiting parents and others that play a role in raising children to create a movement that recognizes youth leaders in communities across the country.
BMWK Family – what are some of the creative ways you plan to (you are) teaching your kids to be true leaders?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 4-H. The opinions and text are all mine.